Thursday, January 30, 2014

DIY African Juju Hat

You will have probably seen African Juju hats and people's DIY take on them all over the internet. I had thought about doing one for ages now and when I saw Katrina's guide to a DIY version and where to buy feathers in Australia I decided to order the feathers.

The feathers from were on sale when I bought them for $2.50 per 10cm. I bought 3.5m (ie 35 lots) totaling $87.50 which qualified for free shipping. The feathers then sat unopened for months while I searched for a suitable backing for them. Most DIY tutorials suggest you use cardboard to glue the feathers onto but I wanted something more sturdy and more authentic. While $87 in feathers in much cheaper than a real Juju hat, it's also quite a bit of money to outlay for craft so I was looking for something that I knew would stand the test of time. The week before Christmas I found what I was looking for at auction. I wasn't really paying attention as I was chatting to someone but I heard the auctioneer joking about a tribal African raffia shield and how it wouldn't really stand up to an attack. I managed to buy the shield for $6 or so and people were laughing about what I may do with it but I knew it would be a perfect base for my feathers.

It was over 60cm diameter and very concave so once i'd unpicked all the colourful decoration off, I chopped it down to a more manageable 45cm diameter and it was a little flatter which was what I wanted.

You will need:
 a suitable base
at least 3.5m of feather coque strung
A hot melt glue gun
loads of glue for your gun



With my trusty glue gun I got gluing. Make sure you glue the feathers the right way around. So that you can't see the binding string.

Once you have finished the first circle decide how close you want the second ring of feathers. I made mine quite overlapping with each ring about 3 cm smaller than the last.

and so on
until you are finished the rings

You will probably have a pile of loose feathers so just pop a little glue on the end of each feather and glue them into the centre to fluff it out.

and the back view

To hang I used twine and glue with a little square of cardboard to hold the twine in place. Very rudimentary but I was a bit over it by the end.  My trigger finger had a blister from the glue gun - I wish i was joking!

I love it and you'll probably be seeing a bit of it in my furniture styling.

Do you like Juju hats? got a real one? made one yourself?

Fiona x

sharing at 
French country cottage

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I scored a French sofa

Every now and then the Second-Hand Furniture Gods smile down on me and let their bountiful magnificence rain down.  Last week was one such occasion. I came home with this beautiful French toile lounge. 

We have had our other cream lounge for 17 years and I've recovered it once about 5 years ago and it's a little tired (we constantly wash the cushion covers). So when I saw this last week and was able to buy it for an extremely reasonable price I decided to go ahead and bring it home and then make a choice between this one and the old one. 

The timber is beautiful - not too shiny either so I think I won't even touch this sofa. The upholstery is also in wonderful condition.

I hope my husband likes it and lets me keep it.

Otherwise I'll be listing it for sale!

Today is the last day of school holidays and the kids and I have been lugging furniture all morning - I also have bought a divine side table that I'll be painting and listing for sale soon. We are off to the pool for the afternoon to cool down.

Have fun

Fiona xx

Friday, January 24, 2014

Doing Something I love for Someone I love

I am very close to my sister and luckily we live very near each other so our kids are close as well. It's lovely to be able to do something nice for her; especially when what she asked of me, was something I love doing.

She has recently bought a new wrought iron bed and wanted a silver bedside table for next to it. When she asked me to help her source one, I said I already had a fantastic one in my stash, all ready to paint. It's tall and probably more of a side table but she said that it would still suit.

I painted it silver as per my guide here and I spray painted the handle chrome. Painting with metallic silver pint is a little more tricky than using normal paint as every single brush mark shows with the sheen so you just need to take your time and plan your brush strokes before you start. 

I hope my gorgeous sis likes it!

Fiona xx

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Get the look: Dry Brush French Style Coffee Table

I have just finished a sweet little French style coffee table and had several people ask how to get the look.

So here goes:

For this particular piece, because it's mahogany, I initially gave it two coats of a Zinsser primer to ensure there was no bleed through and a stable sub-surface for painting. You can skip this step if you are painting different wood and using a chalk paint. I then gave the table two coats of ASCP Paris Grey. I used random brush strokes and made sure they were a dimension to the paint. This will help add visual interest to the finished product.

Once the grey paint was dry, I put about a tablespoon of ASCP Pure White on the lid of the paint can (on the inside of the lid). I then used a dry paint brush (dry is very important for this process) and dipped the very end of the dry paint brush into the paint. I only dip it in about 1 mm. I then swoosh the brush over a piece of paper (okay - I have a white painted lounge room floor so I just swooshed my paint brush over the floor but I recommend that you use paper or cardboard!) Once you have done this, brush the paint lightly onto the grey paint in long strokes. Once you do this a few times you will see how the paint is going on and if you need more or less paint on your paint brush. You can be quite random about this as you are trying to mimic old weathered layered paint so you don't want anything to be too perfect.

Once you have finished the dry brushing and the table looks how you want it to, you can sand and distress if you wish. This table had such a fantastic shape that I wanted to further draw attention to, so I lightly sanded the edges to show the dark wood.

I then applied ASCP Clear wax over the whole table and buffed with super, super fine sand paper. This gives the whole table a lovely sheen.

I hope that helps

(the table is for sale, email me of you are interested)

Fiona xx

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

DIY Decorator Feature for Lilyfield Life

There's a relatively new home decor resource started by Kylie and Sam called DIY-Decorator. It's a great place to check out the latest in home wares, practical DIY tips and inspiration.

I am absolutely thrilled to have Lilyfield Life featured on their pages.

I'm particularly chuffed by the title of "Australian Queen of DIY painted furniture" Love it!!  While I don't believe that title for one second as there are some very talented people who I greatly admire painting furniture in Australia, it's very lovely to be recognised and included.

Do you follow DIY-Decorator?

Fiona xx

Monday, January 20, 2014

Selling the armoire

I've decided to part with the beautiful armoire that I bought a few years ago and painted for my son's room. It's too big in there and he needs drawers rather than hanging space. 

Do you have any rooms that are a bit too full of furniture?

I am not sure where I'm going to store his clothes - perhaps a big cull is in order? I'm sure he doesn't need so much :)

Fiona xx 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Removing Rust from Metal

I will show the full makeover and finished chairs next week once I've finished top coating them but thought I'd share a fantastic product for removing rust. 

Im sure that there are a lot of rust converters on the market but I was recommended this by very experienced furniture painters who swear by it and seeing it completely change the colour and rust of some rusty old chairs I was painting last week convinced me also!

I nearly forgot to take photos but the chair on the left had some rust buster applied to the seat where you can see the rust starting to change colour and texture. The right hand side chair is in the process of drying and converting. The process is very easy - you wipe the Rustbuster on your rusty metal with a damp cloth and then let the surface fully dry and hose off. As Ranex chemically destroys the rust and chemically converts it to a non detrimental phosphate, it is not necessary to use rust inhibiting paints. 

I'll share the finished chairs soon, they are coming along beautifully.

have a happy Sunday
Fiona xx

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Balanced Life

We still have a couple of weeks more of school holidays and I love the mix of work and play that they bring. My nature is to go, go, go (you may have noticed if you've been here a while) so it's good to have some forced relaxation and fun with my lovely kids.

It's been a little of this:

and a little bit of this:

Industrial filing cabinet painted in ASCP Graphite (i'll share details soon but it's for sale)

This beautiful bedside table is being painted in silver (already sold)

6 of these gorgeous chairs are being de-rusted and painted in ASCP Graphite for my neighbour (custom job) and those gorgeous cabinets behind will be painted on Friday.

This weird raffia shield is getting turned into my version of a African Juju hat.

We've had some lovely evening walks in the park near our house.

and some quiet evenings at home and in the garden

actually it's actually been quite a lot of this:

Hope it continues for the next few weeks.
I love a balanced life!

I love the school holidays. What about you?

Fiona xx

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

White Paint Colours for Furniture - my selection

I get asked all the time what is the best colour white for painted furniture. It's very hard for me to answer as I think colour is such an individual preference.

I can, however, let you know what I use and like and show you some examples of each colour white.

My favourites are:

A very bright white: Dulux Lexicon Quarter Strength.
I am a big fan of bright whites. I think they really brighten up a room and make everything clean and fresh looking. My dining room sideboard and my hall cabinet are both Lexicon quarter strength. I only use quarter strength as i think the full strength Lexicon has too much blue undertones for my liking.

Another bright white I love is Annie Sloan Pure White. This has absolutely no tint at all so you will need several (up to 5) coats for full coverage but it's so worth it for a pop of brightness.

The french drawers in my bedroom are ASCP Pure White and it goes beautifully with chrome fittings.

The trim in our house is straight untinted paint as is our bathroom vanity. Professional painters will tell you that you should never use untinted paint - it will just mean you need more coats but sometimes I love that vivid brightness.

 For a very french feel I love Dulux Limed White in quarter strength with Limed White full strength on the details.  I would nominate Dulux Limed White (in all strengths) as my most French Provincial colours.

My dining room chairs are also Dulux Limed White quarter strength using home made chalk paint and drop sheets for the upholstery.

This desk was done with both Dulux Limed white full strength and quarter strength. Such a great neutral colour combination.

I love Dulux Whisper White for a slightly softer white (than ASCP pure white or Lexicon). It still isn't edging anywhere near off white or cream but is not stark.

Annie Sloan Old White is slightly too cream for my own liking. It's just got a fraction too much yellow in it once it's waxed for me, but each to their own as I know a lot of people swear by Old White. Both these pieces below are Old White - beautiful but too cream for my house.

I will often mix ASCP Pure White and Old White together to get a mid-white which is fantastic. Vary the ration to suit yourself but 3/4 Pure White and 1/4 Old White is a great start. The photo below is a shocker to show you proper colours with all those shadows and afternoon dappled light but you can hopefully get the idea.

If you are after a cream, I great colour paint I found recently is Dulux Magnolia. I painted Danielle's little dressing table this recently and I thought it was the perfect vintage cream, not too yellow.

I am almost always happy to share details of the paint and colour I use in my projects so please feel free to ask if you see something I have painted and you want to know the details.

What are your favourite whites?


Sharing at The Power of Paint